Gambo Preserve – Gorham, 1.75 acres

Gambo features the ruins of an old Gunpowder Mill and the Canal Towpath Trails offer a nice diversion from the Mountain Division Rail Trail or a great historic and recreational destination by itself.

Please see below for the trail map and more information about the preserve and trails.

     Trail Facts

  • Activities: hiking, running,  snowshoeing, cross-country skiing
  • Length: 1.2 miles (including Shaw Park)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Leave No Trace: Please take out whatever you bring in.
  • History: Gunpowder Mill ruins

     Trail Map (click to expand)

Directions to Trailhead

About the Gambo Preserve Trails

The Gambo Preserve is part of a network of trails, including some owned and managed by the Town of Gorham.

The Presumpscot River Trail serves as a link between the Mountain Division Rail Trail, Shaw Park, and the Gambo Preserve.

Starting on the west side of the Presumpscot River at its intersection with the Mountain Division Rail Trail, the paved Presumpscot River Trail heads south into Shaw Park, which has numerous recreation facilities including a boat launch and canoe rentals, picnic tables, and parking for any of the connecting trails.

South of the parking area, the trail winds around an old sand pit which was excavated by the former quarrying operations. The trail then connects with a discontinued portion of Gambo Road, now closed to automobile traffic, whose paved surface is still adequate for biking.

The trail continues to follow Gambo Road east to a pedestrian bridge above the Gambo Dam. Along the way there are visible remnants of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal and a submerged ruin of the Oriental Powder Mill. Those wishing to complete the Curtis Loop will need to travel uphill slightly, turn left onto the gravel road and reenter the Mountain Division Rail Trail at the end of this road.

The second half of the Presumpscot River Trail also provides access to Gambo, and the Gunpower Mill Trail and Canal Towpath Trail trailheads. The property was once the Oriental Powder Mill, the first (1824) and largest gunpowder mill in Maine. During the Civil War, the Oriental Powder Mill supplied the Union Army with a quarter of its gunpowder! The mill closed in 1905, just prior to the construction of the adjacent Gambo Dam.

Starting near the dam on old Gambo Road, the Gunpowder Mill Trail tours the entire grounds of the former mill. Numerous ruins dot the trail, and wayside markers describe the significance of each ruin. The quarter-mile long Gunpowder Mill Trail ends at the Canal Towpath Trail.

The Canal Towpath Trail follows the old route of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal. In addition to the still visible canal prism, the trail also crosses an old weir (a water overflow structure) and passes along one of the now ruined canal locks.

Gambo Preserve is owned in fee by the Presumpscot Regional Land Trust.